An Expanded Mission for the New Life Center
An expanded mission for the New Life Center (NLC) began effective July 2023, thanks to tremendous progress made in Nepal’s fight against pediatric HIV/AIDS!
The New Life Center has become a medical recovery home, not only for children living with HIV, but for kids and expectant mothers visiting Kathmandu for any critical medical treatment or surgery.
We are so grateful that a loving & enthusiastic NYF supporter has fully funded the New Life Center through June 2024! To support health and wellness for Nepali children this year, please consider supporting our Nutritional Rehabilitation Home. This facility, right next door to the New Life Center, serves hundreds of children per year.
Before: Empowering Kids Living with Pediatric HIV
NYF established the New Life Center in 2006 as a specialized care home for children (aged 0-14) living with HIV/AIDS. Our young patients, whose fragile immune systems were already under attack from this aggressive virus, spent time in our care frequently as they grew, receiving special, loving, personalized care from our nursing staff.
Once a child’s immune system finished developing at age 15, our team connected them with their local HIV/AIDS organization for adults. This ensured strong continuity of care. Meanwhile, these local organizations referred families to the NLC whenever they learned of a child living with the virus.
Between 2006 and 2023, the NLC became a premier resource in Nepal for families impacted by pediatric HIV. Our team has saved hundreds of lives and empowered their families. Their work has also helped lower both virus transmission and the stigma faced by Nepalis living with this challenging diagnosis.
Nepal has made tremendous progress in slowing the rate of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. This has resulted in a reduced need for a specialized facility exclusively for children living with the virus.
Changing Health Needs
In March 2020, NLC patients returned to their home villages to avoid exposure to COVID-19, leaving the NLC almost empty. During the worst of the pandemic, the NLC cared for mild-to-moderate COVID patients who were unable to isolate at home. We offered remote care for our HIV patients, with great success. Thanks to these innovations, in 2022, the NLC received the smallest number of in-person HIV/AIDS patients since opening in 2006. Most beds remained vacant.
NYF spent 2022 and the first half of 2023 engaged in an ambitious HIV/AIDS Awareness & Advocacy Campaign. We proudly partnered with several grassroots organizations in districts with high rates of HIV. These organizations—Makwanpur Women’s Group (Makwanpur District), Bara Plus (Bara and Parsa Districts), and Lumbini Plus (Nawalpur and Parasi Districts)—allowed us to make quick, strong connections with local changemakers and beneficiaries, which maximized our impact. Creating a unified action plan, without interrupting the existing services each organization offered, allowed us all to serve these communities with efficiency and strength. It also created a cohesive, powerful message about HIV/AIDS Awareness & Advocacy.
You can learn more about the original mission of the New Life Center, as well as the HIV/AIDS Awareness & Advocacy Campaign, on our historical New Life Center – HIV/AIDS program page.
Between 2022 and 2023, we printed 14,000 copies of our HIV/AIDS guidebook (view the flipbook here). We originally only planned to print 500, not expecting demand to be so high! Our team distributed copies to families living with HIV, students and their teachers, women’s groups, hospitals, doctors and nurses, organizations intersecting with issues related to HIV, government offices, and community representatives. Access to this information is making tremendous headway in educating the public. NYF will continue distributing this resource as long as demand continues.
NYF has a particularly strong reputation in Nepal, for integrity, longevity, and effectiveness. Partnering NGOs reported that our project led to greater trust from the local governments, schools, and even community members living with HIV. Many of the individuals living with HIV in these areas had already intersected with the NLC, either through their own children or from having been a young NLC patient themselves. NYF’s public trust in smaller local organizations strengthened the impact of these grassroots resources.
Raising the profile of these locally-led organizations has already made their services more effective. We also trained these passionate local teams with learnings from our 17 years of experience.
Now: An Expanded Mission for the NLC
With the need for a specialized pediatric HIV/AIDS facility on the decline and the strengthening of local HIV/AIDS organizations, NYF realized that our beautiful New Life Center could now offer an broader service to the children and families of Nepal.
In 2023, the New Life Center’s mission expanded to include children and families traveling to Kathmandu for all kinds of life-changing medical care, including HIV, but no longer limited to it.
This resource allows children from some of Nepal’s most remote regions to access their right to healthcare.
Most of Nepal’s hospitals—especially those offering specialized treatments—are centralized in Kathmandu. A recent study showed that 57% of Kathmandu patients have traveled for treatment from more rural areas. This is a devastating expense for many families.
The New Life Center empowers children and families to access life-transforming medical care, to heal thoroughly without dangerous complications, and to live full, rich, joyful lives free of the long-lasting burden of crushing medical debt.
Children and their caregivers stay at the New Life Center for an average of 15 days. This is the typical duration required for follow-up and recovery from the acute medical conditions and procedures we typically see. They receive individualized, supportive care free of charge, including monitoring from nurses, nutritious meals created under the recommendation of our dieticians, emergency support and ambulance service where needed, psychological counseling as-needed, and practical, supportive advice from our staff on how to understand and implement their doctors’ discharge instructions at home.
Learn more about this program (and some early impact stories!) on the updated New Life Center – Medical Recovery Home program page.
Thank you for the loving support that has made the New Life Center’s expanded mission possible!
NYF has been an important part of Nepal’s remarkable progress in the fight to end pediatric HIV/AIDS. We’re continuing to put our knowledge and resources to use in supporting individuals and families who are living with this challenging diagnosis. All of this is possible thanks to loving supporters like you.
Now that the New Life Center is serving a wider audience, our impact is expanding more than ever. Thank you for sharing our mission, bringing Health access to children all over Nepal!
Dadeldhura Nutritional Rehabilitation Home Officially Joins the Nepali Hospital System!
Exciting news! On July 26th, 2022, the Dadeldhura Nutritional Rehabilitation Home was formally handed over to the government-run Dadeldhura Hospital in a special ceremony. This marks the successful conclusion of NYF’s work building and launching new Nutritional Rehabilitation Homes—a project that began in 1998.
NYF’s pioneering NRH model has been so successful that it has become a central piece of Nepal’s national work to end childhood malnutrition. Indeed, the government has already built an additional seven facilities throughout the country—with more on the way! Read more about these remarkable facilities here.
About the Dadeldhura Nutritional Rehabilitation Home
The Nepali government specifically requested the Dadeldhura Nutritional Rehabilitation Home because the children in Dadeldhura District and in multiple adjoining districts were experiencing a very high rate of stunting due to malnutrition. They had identified several of these districts as among the lowest performing in Nepal when looking at rates of stunting, anemia, and low weight in children and mothers of reproductive age.
Mothers in the region were undoubtedly eager to help their babies grow and develop into healthy, active kids and strong, creative young adults. But in many of their households, there’s no room in the budget for empty calories.
Every rupee spent on food is a rupee that can’t be spent on other necessities like rent, medicine, and school. Without access to knowledge about nutrition—what vegetables contain the nutrients kids need and how to combine and prepare foods to maximize nutritional value—mothers can only make their best guesses with the resources they have.
Many of these parents have shared stories of feeling heartache as they watched their children struggling to put on weight in spite of the adults’ best efforts.
Nepal’s government hoped that one of our clinics would provide the medical support and educational resources nearby communities needed to begin reversing this trend.
This 10-bed facility (enough for 10 mother-child pairs) would be NYF’s final NRH construction project—the 17th such clinic we had built. We completed construction in August 2017 and started operating on September 1st of that same year.
Achievements at the Dadeldhura Nutritional Rehabilitation Home
In the five years since this clinic opened its doors, nine specially trained staff members have made the Dadeldhura Nutritional Rehabilitation Home a pride of the associated hospital. Here are some of their achievements:
- They provided residential treatment and care for 477 children—including diet therapy, 24-hour nursing care, medical check-ups by a pediatrician, and careful monitoring. During these stays, their caregivers, usually mothers, received hands-on training on practical nutrition education and personalized counseling on how to maximize the nutrition in their home diets using only the ingredients available to them.
- They’ve conducted nutritional screenings (and provided personalized nutritional counseling for moms!) for 2,266 children who were visiting the Dadeldhura Hospital for other ailments when malnutrition was a contributing factor.
- Despite not having a designated field staff, NRH staff managed to conduct 56 home visits to follow-up with discharged children who had been severely malnourished enough that their cases required prolonged monitoring.
- They provided community outreach and educational events for their surrounding communities whenever it was necessary, including Breastfeeding Week, Iodine Month, and Nutrition Week.
During the COVID pandemic:
- During COVID-19, They conducted an additional 113 follow-up visits over the phone, coaching caregivers on practical nutrition tips, home hygiene, and child health care at home.
Trainings and Assessments
Staff members have been eager to continue learning to best serve their young patients. Not only have they all participated in annual “refresher” training through NYF’s Kathmandu Valley flagship NRH, but they’ve also made efforts to specialize by attending trainings held by the Nepali Ministry of Health. Several nurses have also attended a maternal and young infant child nutrition workshop. Others have participated in trainings focused on preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV/AIDS. Most recently, a nurse attended a 5-day workshop on “Nutrition in Emergencies,” focused on learnings from the COVID pandemic.
In 2021, a government team conducted an assessment on the full Dadeldhura Hospital. The NRH scored highest among all the clinical settings associated with the hospital.
This incredible work will continue, with NYF still providing follow-up training for NRH staff members across the country. This includes those providing transformative services in Dadeldhura. In fact, we’re providing training for NRH staff members at facilities built entirely by the Nepali government! This training takes place at our flagship Kathmandu Valley NRH, led by our incredible Nutrition Coordinator, Sunita Rimal.
New Opportunities in Childhood Nutrition
Nepal, NYF, and other organizations working to combat childhood malnutrition have made tremendous strides over the 24 years since we first began providing holistic nutritional care. But the work isn’t finished.
At NYF, we strive to design programs that can one day be sustainably taken over by the communities they are serving. This keeps us at the forefront of social innovation in Nepal—focusing our attention on developing new, focused, daring programs that respond to the toughest challenges.
With the Nepali government now building and operating NRHs on its own, NYF’s nutrition team sees new opportunities to conduct life-saving Nutrition Outreach Camps in more and more remote regions of the country.
As Nepal works to improve its nationwide infrastructure, it must contend with its unique, dramatic geography. Sharp elevation shifts throughout the country make building and maintaining roads and bridges incredibly difficult. As a result, many villages are still only accessible on foot. Historically, we’ve struggled to persuade some parents to bring their severely-malnourished children to the nearest NRH, as the journey to the closest one was often several days long and potentially dangerous.
Now when we find children in these areas in need of immediate medical care, there’s an NRH within much closer reach than there has ever been before. That makes it so much easier to save more lives and introduce nutritional education to eager communities.
Thank you so much for being part of this journey. We are so grateful to everyone who has helped make this chapter of NYF’s journey such a transformative success—not only for the individual children we’ve nourished, but for the country as a whole.
As Nepal recovers from the COVID pandemic and finds a “new normal”, NYF is hard at work launching new initiatives, keeping our promises to those already in our care, and integrating new learnings from the past two years. Please help us continue to grow our impact by making a generous gift today right here on our website!
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Updates from NYF President Som Paneru
Dear NYF Community,
I hope you are all continuing to stay safe and healthy. Earlier this month, the Nepal government made an announcement to ease COVID-19 restrictions. Among other things, this included the physical re-opening of schools and public spaces. This decision has several impacts on our programs at NYF, and I am delighted to share these new updates with all of you.
COVID-19 Updates & Response Programs
NYF’s COVID Isolation Center at our flagship Nutrition Rehabilitation Home (NRH) ran until September 16, 2021. Since its opening, we’ve admitted and treated more than 240 COVID-positive patients at our facilities. Following this recent government decision to re-open public spaces, NYF suspended isolation center services on September 17th to fully resume our regular NRH programming. We are continuing to produce Lito, our homemade “super” flour, at the NRH and are still distributing them to communities in need via the Lito for Life program. For more updates and information about our COVID-19 response, visit NYF’s COVID Timeline.
Until now, schools and colleges nationwide have been closed. Out of the 643 scholarship students NYF currently supports, 70% have been attending online classes run by their schools and colleges. After this most recent decision, most NYF children will likely be able to return to in-person classes later this fall. Additionally, after a massive COVID-related delay, the long-awaited examinations for grade 12 students finally took place on September 15, 2021. About 40 NYF students took the exam.
Vocational Education & Career Counseling
As you may recall, most of our vocational training programs were put on hold earlier this year. We are happy to announce that NYF has safely resumed some training programs in the electrical, welding, carpentry and plumbing trades. Effective last week, we have 4 vocational training satellite courses currently running. NYF is also preparing to complete 2 more Sustainable Agriculture and Entrepreneurship Trainings (SAAET) by the end of the year.
Nutrition Rehabilitation Homes (NRH) & Nutrition Camps
There are currently 8 children being treated at the NRH for malnourishment. We are expecting an increase in the number of admissions as we resume our regular services and programming. Our NYF nutrition staff is also busy strategizing how to safely conduct our regular nutrition camps this year.
New Life Center (NLC)
Due to travel restrictions brought about by COVID-19, patients had a difficult time traveling to the New Life Center in Kathmandu Valley to receive treatment. In order to increase access to supportive care for children living with HIV/AIDS in rural communities, NYF has redesigned the NLC program.
The aim of this redesign is to bring New Life Center resources to a larger population of children. To do so, we’ve moved beyond the “residential-treatment only” approach to an expanded “outreach and community-based” approach. According to the new plan, the NLC will cater residential services to approximately 20 children, while all the other services will be completed in rural communities via community outreach. These community outreach programs include awareness and advocacy, food and essentials delivery, financial support for caretakers, and tele-counseling services.
While this program will still be run from the NLC office in Kathmandu, we are excited to partner with a number of grassroots organizations — all doing incredible work in the communities we plan to serve.
Olgapuri Children’s Village
First and foremost, all 71 children (and house parents!) at Olgapuri remain safe and healthy. This year, nine students will soon be moving out after graduating high school. We are so proud of each graduate, and look forward to seeing them go on to do incredible things!
Thank you for your support.
Friends, we are deeply grateful for your continued love and support for the children, young adults, and families in our care. Thank you, also, to our staff on the ground in Nepal and for their incredible work. As always, if you have any questions about these updates or would like more information about our programs in general, please don’t hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Olga Inspires on CBS Evening News: Still Sharing Her Life’s Mission
Olga inspires just about everyone she meets, so the NYF team was delighted when CBS Evening News with Norah O’Donnell asked to feature her recently.
Viewers who tuned in for the spot’s original airing on the night of July 5th, 2021 learned a bit about Olga’s mission: extending educational opportunities to Nepal’s children, as well as providing health, freedom, and shelter.
We are so grateful to CBS News correspondent Jamie Yuccas for helping Olga inspire new audiences with her story of personal impact in a world that often downplays “women of a certain age”. With support and solidarity from friends around the world, Olga and NYF are helping Nepali children chase their dreams and build brighter futures for themselves, their families, and their communities.
“I don’t think about stopping,” Olga says. And neither does the global NYF team. Thank you all for being part of this incredible continuing journey!
Purposeful Living & Olga Murray: A Celebration and an Invitation
Purposeful living is the focus of a new Washington Post article about our very own founder, Olga Murray (click the link to open the article in a new tab – it is a beautiful tribute by Pulitzer-Prize winner Katherine Ellison!). Our beloved Olga, on the cusp of her 96th birthday, has been an inspiration during the past year of lockdowns and uncertainty.
‘ “I’m not a doctor,” ‘ the article quotes Olga during a recent interview, ‘ “but I do know that when I get out of bed every morning and think that I might help a little kid in Nepal, I’m not focused on my body… My main focus is on the kids.”
In her interview, Olga is characteristically modest. So much of Olga’s work is driven by her belief in others. She believes in those she partners with at NYF, like President Som Paneru. She believes in her friends, her connections – all those generous donors who make her work possible. Most of all, she believes in the children of Nepal, and in the incredible things they can accomplish if given the proper opportunities. (Bishnu Chaudhary, the young woman freed from domestic slavery who recently passed the Nepalese bar exam, is just one example!)
Even with purposeful living fueling her longevity, “I’m not going to be around forever,” Olga says pragmatically. “And the thing I want most in the world is for this program to go on.”
The NYF community is determined to make that wish come true.
If you’d like to learn more (and to see Olga Murray live over Zoom!), click here to register for our upcoming virtual Founder’s Day celebration! Join NYF’s email list here.
To support NYF’s mission during this challenging time – bringing Education, Health, Shelter, and Freedom to Nepali children – please donate here. For more powerful impact, consider making yours a monthly donation!